Review: XPPen ACK05 wireless shortcut remote

Review unit provided by XPPen (Facebook | Twitter)

The XPPen ACK05 is wireless shortcut remote designed for digital artists who use pen tablets and pen displays for drawing. This is an upgrade over the XPPen AC19 which was released more than 3 years ago.

The price is USD 49.99. This shortcut remote is included with the purchase of the XPPen Artist Pro 14 (gen 2) (review) and XPPen Deco Pro (gen 2).


This wireless shortcut remote provides additional hotkeys to pen tablets and pen displays that have limited or no hotkeys.

If you use a XPPen pen tablet or pen display, you can use the same driver to configure the dial. XPPen has also developed a separate driver that only provides hotkey customisation so that this can be used with other brands of pen tablets and pen displays without driver conflicts.

Specifications

Here's a comparison with the previous model, the AC19.

ACK05 AC19
Material Plastic + silicone Plastic + silicone
Dimensions 12.8 x 7 x 1mm 13 x 7 x 1cm
Colour Black + grey Black + grey
ACK05 AC19
ACK05 AC19
Weight 75g ?
Battery capacity Rechargeable 1000mAh/3.7V through USB-C, 300 hours One AAA battery
ACK05 AC19
Connection mode Wired, Bluetooth dongle, Bluetooth 5.0 2.4Ghz with USB-A dongle
Shortcut keys 10 + 1 (middle of dial) 9 + 1 (middle of dial)
OS and driver support Windows, Mac, Linux Windows, Mac, Linux
Price USD 49.99 USD 35.99

Design


Design of the ACK05 is lightweight, compact and can be held easily in one hand. Everything's made of plastic and the build quality seems solid enough.

There are 10 customisable hotkeys which are not labeled except for the square one in the middle with a protruding dot. The buttons use scissors switch mechanism and have good feedback.


The dial has textured concentric circles from the middle button. The dial is easy to turn and has audible clicking feedback.

The dial can be customised with up to 4 shortcuts and you can use the button in the middle to switch between the shortcuts.


When switching shortcuts, a label will appear on screen to show you which shortcut is active.


The connection modes available are Bluetooth 5.0 and wired. If your computer does not have Bluetooth, you can use USB-A Bluetooth receiver included. The new design does not have a holder on it to store the USB-A receiver.

Driver

The drivers work with Windows, Mac and Linux.


Click for a larger view.

Customising the dial
The dial can be configured with up to 4 shortcuts. The default shortcuts are zoom, scroll, brush size and rotate.


Default rotate only works with Photoshop. To get rotation to work with other drawing apps, those apps must have rotation set to a keyboard shortcut that you can input into the driver.


These are the possible customisation for the the hotkey.

You can input your own keyboard shortcuts or choose under Others, the pre-programmed shortcuts. Here are the functions for the not-so-straightforward shortcuts:

  • Precision mode: Move the cursor more slowly for precision drawing
  • Switch roller function: Switch between the shortcuts for the dial
  • Key group switching: Switch between the groups of shortcuts for the hotkeys
  • Set preview: Show an overlay with the shortcuts configured for the hotkeys


The orientation for the remote can be changed.


Unfortunately, the K1 to K10 keys do not follow the order of the rotated remote which in this example should be K8, K4, K1, etc.


Up to four sets of shortcuts can be created. And you can set one hotkey to switch between the shortcut groups.

In total, you can create 36 shortcuts. It's not a total of 40 because each shortcut group of 10 shortcuts will have one hotkey for switching.

Multiple key combination shortcuts will work. E.g. Ctrl + Shift + [, etc.

Press and hold will only activate the shortcut once and not repeatedly. E.g. press and holding the [ & ] will adjust brush size once and not repeatedly.


It is also possible to create shortcuts specific to apps you use, and have those shortcuts load automatically whenever the app is active. To create those app-specific shortcuts, just add the app, then highlight the app, then add the shortcuts.

This is a useful feature since most apps don't exactly share the same set of keyboard shortcuts. E.g. You can have one set of shortcuts for Photoshop, another set of shortcuts for Clip Studio Paint.

Conclusion

The XPPen ACK05 wireless shortcut remote works well.

As to whether it's useful or if you need it, that will come down to personal preference.

If you're interested to buy this, you can find it on XPPen online store

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